DAY HIKES AT PARO BHUTAN
Taktsang Monastery Hike or Tigers Nest Monastery:
Distance: 2 hours one way. Altitude: 3,100 meter above sea level. Elevation gain: 900 meters above Paro valley. Difficulty: Moderate.
The Tigers nest monastery is one of the most sacred Buddhist icon of the Mahayana faith. All visitors who come to Bhutan visit this monastery and every step is worth it once you reach the monastery, the views are amazing. For people who cannot make it to the top can go till the view point cafeteria and still get the most amazing views.
Guru Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche is said to have come to this site riding on a Tigress. Guru also meditated in a cave here for three months. You can feel the strong energy here and it’s a power place. Hence Dharma practioners meditate near the monastery. You can see hermitages around the monastery vicinity.
The trail leads up steadily meandering along the ridge and finally finishes at the view point above the monastery and continues with steps all the way down to a water fall and continues further up into the interior of the monastery. The way back to the bottom is by the same trail. On this hike one can ride horses up till the steps. For those who have the energy and quest to explore more, there are many other sacred monasteries around the main Tiger Nest temple.
Sagala Hike Paro to Haa valley.
Hike the beautiful nature of Western Bhutan towards Haa valley and to the Sagala pass. Drive about 30 minutes to reach the Village of Balakha in the upper valley of paro. From here you can start your hike heading south west direction gently climbing through blue pine pastures and farmland continuing on to the steeper trail through old growth forest of spruce, hemlock and rhododendron. Upon arrival at the Sagala pass you will enjoy breathtaking views of Bhutan’s northern Himalayas ; Mt. Jhomolhari and Jichudarkey. While at the pass enjoy a picnic lunch.
Your descend will proceed on the south face of beautiful Sagala pass through spacious yak herding meadows leading down to quaint villages located in the upper valley of Haa. Your car will pick you up at the road head. This hike takes about 7 hrs and gains elevation till 600m, altitude is about 3500m.
Zuri Goenpa Hike:
It takes about 2 hrs above the Paro airport. The hike finishes at the national muesuem. You can visit Zuri Goenpa a 17th century monastery built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.
Altitude is about 2600m and elevation gain is about 300m.
Distance: 3 hours Altitude: 2700 Meters Elevation Gain: 400 meters Difficulty: Hard
This hike begins from the Paro town and climbs through pine forests and oak trees. The vegetation gets thicker as you get higher up. You will often meet people gathering Mushroom around. As you get higher up the view of Paro valley below gets better and better. You will find yourself spending good amount of time taking rest gazing at the amazing view below. You can see the fertile Agriculture fields flourishing lavishly with farm house spread all across and the Majestic Rinpong Dzong standing distinctively above.
As your climb along the ridge reaches the level of Sangchokhor monastery on your left the trail turns left passing through thick vegetation until you come out into an open meadow just below the Monastery. From here you will make a finale short stretch climb and come out at the road head near the entrance gate of Sangchokhor Monastery itself.
The Sangchokhor Monastery houses the monastic institute of higher studies. There are 200 monks pursuing 9 years of rigorous Buddhist studies.
Chelela to Khela Nunnery hike:
Distance: 4 hours Altitude: 4400 meters Elevation Gain: 500 meters Difficulty: Medium
After one and half hours of beautiful drive to Chelela pass, 3899 meters the Chelela ridge walk begins among the thick fluttering prayer flags. Once you leave the fluttering prayer flag and climbing steadily along the ridge you will notice the view on either side that of Paro valley on right and Haa valley on left side takes your attention. Thick Rhododendron bush and many flowers adorn the mountain slope making your walk along the trail more enchanting. There is high opportunity to spot Blue poppy and many more varieties of plants making this hike a botanical tour. Finally as you reach the top of the highest ridge called Gungkarpo at about 4600 meters you will find the sky burial spot which would render heartfelt emotions. From here the trail descends abruptly through opened natural meadow and then enters thick wood of silver fir forest and broad leaved Rhododendrons trees finally coming out above the Khela Gompa Nunnery. You can visit the Nunnery and get blessed by making offerings and praying inside the main temple.
Drive to the Hike starting point about 30 minutes from Paro town to Shaba and from here you can hike about one hour to Drakarpo monastery located on a high cliff. Just before reaching the monastery walk clockwise around the cliff. On the top of the cliff you will see a cave, which is believed to have been used for meditation by a previous incarnation of Lama Namkhai Ningpo. From this side you can see almost the whole of Paro valley. Continue round towards the other side of the cliff and descend about 10 minutes to the entrance. Visit the main altar room in the monastery which has a great story about how the Guru Rinpoche broke the rock and made a cave for his meditation in the mid 8th century. When you have finished your visit to the monastery we will return to the car which takes around 1 hour and drive back to Paro.
Chumpu Nye Hike
The hike takes about 4-5 hrs from Paro valley. The trail is gradual and goes through the forest. The trail leads to the temple of Dorji Phamo ( Matha Varahi), There is a very sacred statue of the Goddess. This statue is ancient as its believed that the Goddess Dorji Phamo flew here from Tibet and stayed on in the form of a statue. It’s a life size statue, her one leg is crossed at the knees and the other is standing but does not touch the ground.(Floating statue).
The other site to visit at Chumphu is the Guru Rimpoche Caves. There are several caves was used by Guru himself and some caves used by his consorts like Khandom Mendharawa and Khandom Yeshay Tshokey. There are water falls said to be the bathing place of Guru and there are big rock opening said to be opening gates to Heaven.
Kila Goenpa nunnery at Paro Bhutan
Chumpu Nye Trail at Paro Bhutan